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On Biffs and Letting Go

On Biffs and Letting Go

Whatever form it takes, the movement of the soul and God is always finding its way toward freedom. In prayer as in the rest of life, it is a movement toward freedom from willfulness, from the compulsion to be in charge and the fear of loss of control. {Gerald May}

Since moving to Charlottesville, I’ve become a bike commuter. I love it. Last Tuesday, though, I didn’t love it so much. I was coming down Ridge, the main connection to downtown from my house, and I went to jump a curb. It didn’t work out so well. I laid the bike down, right there on the road, out in the open for all the neighbors to see. A couple guys who had a great view of the whole escapade from their front yard asked if I was okay. My pride took a ding, and my knee was thrashed pretty nicely – and I blew a tube on my back tire. Other than that, though, my bike and I were both still in one piece.

Rolling away, I was definitely embarrassed – but there was also a strange joy I found in the encounter. My encounter with the asphalt. And then my encounter with the neighbors who enjoyed the spectacle. Nothing opens the possibility for a human connection quite like looking like a doofus. I had hoped for ways to quickly meet my neighbors, to open up possibilities for friendship – and if you’re interested for tips I’m learning: a face plant on the sidewalk does the trick.

The moment seems like a metaphor for my life right now. In our new life and new city and new work, it is tempting (very tempting) to try to make stuff happen, to hold tight reigns on how we step into this new place. I am tempted to be fearful and anxious. But, truth is, I can’t control any of this. The whole idea of control is mostly an illusion anyway. I have to loosen my grip and watch and listen and wait and hope and work – knowing that God is the one who will open doors and build friendships – or not.

Some things will never come to be so long as we are in charge. Recently, I heard a friend pray this: "God, I feel small." That sounds so good and alive and true. When we are small, when we are holding things loosely, when our faith is carefree and open and reckless enough to allow space for a little crash, a little chaos, a little mess – I think God has his best room to work.

{I reflect on this a little more and from a different angle on my personal blog}

Winn is a writer and pastor. He is the author of Restless Faith and the recent release, Let God: The Transforming Wisdom of Francois Fenelon. Winn is married to his best friend Miska and has two rabble-rousing sons, Wyatt and Seth. You can find out more about Winn by downloading this interview or by hopping over to

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